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Luminate Online Marketing (Blackbaud’s powerful online fundraising and marketing solution) has an array of tools built to help established nonprofits take their donor engagement and fundraising efforts even further—and prospect research can be a major part of doing that!

However, for organizations utilizing Blackbaud’s Luminate Online platform, being able to make sense of all the data at hand can be a challenge. To help you out, we’ve put together our top tips to navigating prospect research within Luminate Online.

We’ll show you how to:

  1. Make sure your Luminate Online Marketing data is clean and complete.
  2. Customize your Luminate Online Marketing fields to track the data you need.
  3. Send out targeted asks based on prospect and donor data.
  4. Follow up with prospects using Luminate Online communication tools.

Not familiar with prospect research? Read up on the basics and learn how to get started by checking out our ultimate guide.

Now, let’s get to the tips!

Before you can conduct effective prospect research with Luminate Online Marketing, you should migrate and clean your donor database.

1. Make sure your Luminate Online Marketing data is clean and complete.

Nonprofits who are familiar with prospect research will know that successful research and follow-through depend upon the data you have access to.

Before you begin conducting prospect research, you’ll need to ensure that the data you’re storing within Luminate Online is accurate and tidy. 

Which areas should you focus on when cleaning up your data? We suggest looking out for:

  • Lapsed donor profiles.
  • Outdated contact information.
  • Incomplete giving histories.
  • Duplicate profiles.
  • Inconsistently logged data.

If your organization is just getting started with Luminate Online, you’ll also want to ensure that all the constituent information you’ve stored in previous platforms has been successfully transferred to Luminate. Data migration can be complicated, so make sure you have an expert on-hand to oversee this process so no data gets harmed or lost along the way.

Larger organizations (i.e., those who would be using Luminate Online) may have an especially hard time with data cleanup and migration simply because of the sheer number of donor profiles and years of transactions to keep track of.

For those nonprofits, the help of a nonprofit technology consultant might prove to be invaluable. A consulting firm with specialized Luminate Online experience can walk you through the cleanup and migration processes and guide your team toward developing data input best practices to make your data more manageable long-term.

When data is the core of everything your organization does—including prospect research!—having a trusted professional at the table can relieve any concerns your team might have as you organize your database.

To summarize: If you want the most accurate results from your prospect research, it’s important to make sure your constituent profiles are up-to-date and all information is transferred to Luminate Online.

You can work with a nonprofit web consultant to customize your data fields in order to track the most pertinent donor and prospect data.

2. Customize your Luminate Online Marketing fields to track the data you need.

Luminate Online is almost endlessly customizable, so you might not be surprised that to get the most from your platform, you’ll need to implement some of your own configurations.

You can rearrange your Luminate Online system in a variety of ways, but it’s one of the smaller configurations that can have a major impact on your prospect research potential.

What customization are we referring to? Simply adding your own data fields to constituent profiles!

Prospect research can fill in a number of knowledge gaps you might have about your supporters. Don’t let that newfound insight go to waste; store the most valuable information in Luminate Online so you can use it for all future fundraising and marketing endeavors.

For example, you might want to keep track of the following data in your constituent profiles:

  • Major giving potential.
  • Matching gift eligibility.
  • Past political contributions or affiliation(s).
  • Real estate ownership/addresses. (Note: this differs slightly from the home or mailing address field if a supporter owns multiple properties.)
  • Planned giving potential.
  • Membership status.

While you can implement custom fields on your own (with a little help from Blackbaud’s how-to sheet), if your team doesn’t have experience on the Luminate development side, you should consider seeking the help of a nonprofit technology consultant. 

Not only can a consultant make the changes you need, but they can also work with you to come up with a plan for how customizations can affect your prospect research and fundraising strategies overall.

Pro Tip: The information that you collect through custom fields needs to go somewhere. With donor management software, not only will you be able to collect that information into detailed constituent profiles, but also analyze the information to improve future campaigns. Check out Double the Donation’s list of Blackbaud software for more integration ideas.

To summarize: The type of information that you collect will vary from one organization to the next. Therefore, you should customize your fields to capture the information that is most valuable to your nonprofit.

You can use Luminate Online to organize your prospect and donor data in order to send the most custom donation requests.

3. Send out targeted asks based on prospect and donor data.

Your prospect research initiatives should lead the way toward determining which supporters would be good candidates for different types of gifts, including:

(Among many other dedicated donation types!)

Once you’ve used prospect research to determine which of your supporters are likely to make those types of donations, it’s up to you to use that insight to make the most of your donation requests. That’s where Luminate Online Marketing comes into play.

Luminate Online enables your nonprofit to completely customize the donation experience from start to finish, enabling you to use your prospect data to power your fundraising strategy. Here’s how you do it:

  • Create campaigns geared toward specific constituent segments (such as major gift prospects).
  • Enable flexible gift types, including recurring giving, memorial or tribute gifts, matched gifts, and pledges.
  • Generate unique donation pages that are branded to your organization and designed to help you collect the data you need.
  • Send targeted fundraising communications with varying donation request levels based on segmentation.
  • Securely accept multiple payment types, including credit card and direct debit (ACH).

When you store meaningful donor information within Luminate, you’ll be able to create a donation process that perfectly lines up with each supporter on your list. No more shooting in the dark when it comes to making donation requests—with the right strategy, Luminate Online can help you use your prospect data to ask for exactly the right amount in the right way and at the right time.

To summarize: Put the information you stored within Luminate to use and strategically plan your asks depending on the type of donor you’re reaching out to.

You can use Luminate Online communication tools to segment your donor list and send tailored email or direct mail communications.

4. Follow up with prospects using Luminate Online communication tools.

Prospect research on its own isn’t enough to secure major gifts or win over new supporters. As with the other aspects of your fundraising strategy, prospect research is nothing if not paired with thoughtful donor stewardship practices.

Luminate Online was built to help nonprofits like yours maximize donor engagement, and one of the primary ways it enables you to do that is through its set of dynamic email management tools.

After you’ve conducted prospect research, use your newfound knowledge to segment your supporter base and send out the most relevant, engaging communications. You can tailor your email content around any information, but here are just a few examples to get your team thinking:

  • Demographic information — You know that a 22-year-old volunteer fresh out of college will engage differently than a 60-year-old donor gearing up for retirement. Hint: they’ll respond to emails differently, too!
  • Gift size or type — If you’re hoping to secure a major gift, you should definitely create an email stream that nudges supporters in that direction. However, you don’t want to inadvertently dissuade donors who are more comfortable giving a much smaller amount.
  • Geographic information — Don’t waste a valuable email advertising events or engagement opportunities near your nonprofit’s home offices if many of your donors are nowhere nearby.

Of course, you should also consider general communication preferences when outlining your marketing strategy. Some supporters love getting emails once a day or once a week, but others will be less than thrilled to have their inboxes flooded.

Plus, some donors would much rather speak to a nonprofit representative on the phone, interact via social media, or receive direct mail. Make sure you’re sending the communications your constituents want, or they’re likely to opt out of everything!

Once your nonprofit has gotten started with Luminate Online’s email management tools, don’t forget to analyze your strategy’s success by utilizing Luminate’s built-in reporting features. You can track your campaigns’ effectiveness across a variety of metrics and try out different tactics to see what works the best.

If you’re consistent in your communications, you should soon see your prospects turning into donors, and your donors turning into long-term supporters of your cause!

To summarize: Luminate Online Marketing comes with a whole host of communication tools, making it easy for you to follow-up and thank supporters who have contributed.


Luminate Online Marketing can be the bridge your nonprofit needs between successful prospect research and securing crucial donations. With these tips in mind, your nonprofit should have no problem identifying potential donors and stewarding them toward your desired outcomes.

Want more insight into using Blackbaud’s Luminate products? Check out these additional resources from DNL OmniMedia, a team of nonprofit web consultants with expert advice on using Luminate to its fullest potential:

  • Luminate Online Marketing: The Nonprofit’s Guide. Luminate Online is a powerful tool—if your nonprofit knows how to make the most of it! This guide to Luminate Online can answer any questions your organization may have about Blackbaud’s Luminate suite (and more)!
  • Is Luminate CRM Right for Your Nonprofit? A little different than Luminate Online, Luminate CRM is a Salesforce-specific donor management system that can help your nonprofit organize your data and boost fundraising revenue. Discover if it’s right for your organization by reading this helpful post.
  • 5 TeamRaiser Tips for Simple (and Effective!) Configuration. To get the most from Luminate Online Marketing’s peer-to-peer fundraising add-on, you’ll need to configure the platform to meet your nonprofit’s unique needs. DNL can show you how to do just that in this post.

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4 Keys to Prospect Research with Luminate Online Marketing